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Generic Relationships: Search Update

After the initial architecture changes made for Generic Relationships Update for Family Tree, additional architectural changes regarding individuals and their relationships with family members were identified that needed to be made related to Search. This guide reflects those changes regarding the Search endpoint. As you use this resource you may notice that the search results of the previous Search may be different from this new Generic Search. This is by design and is intended to return an improved quality of results.

Schedule of Changes

Because of the dependencies of the various endpoints, the changes to Search will be released on October 1, 2019.

Activating the Generic Search Model

To activate the experiment for the generic relationships model, use the X-FS-Feature-Tag header with a value of This should be used for all calls to the FamilySearch API. For more information on how to use these pending modification headers, see the Pending Modifications guide.

API Documentation

The Search API resource documentation has example requests for both the current API and the Generic Search Update. You may note that the architecture for calling this API has changed significantly. For detailed usage of the new search format, see the Family Tree Search guide.

  • Rather than passing a query parameter q with a long set of embedded parameters concatenated together, the parameters have been broken out into separate ones with a q. namespace.
  • Values need to be percent encoded using HTTP standards.
  • Name values may include the '*' and '?' wildcard characters.
  • 'BirthLike' dates and place values include dates and places of birth, christening, etc. The actual birth date, if known, is preferred.
  • 'DeathLike' dates and place values include dates and places of death, burial, cremation etc. The actual death date, if known, is preferred.
  • Date values are specified as GEDCOM X Simple Date values (±YYYY[-MM[-DD]]).
  • The search system will only make use of the year, but in the future could make use of a more specific date including month and day.
  • Date ranges are specified using the .from and .to modifiers.
    • Deprecated: birthDate:1920-1940
    • New: q.birthLikeDate.from=+1920&
  • father/mother/parent terms - 'father' terms are parents with sex=Male; 'mother' terms are parents with sex=Female; 'parent' terms are parents with sex other than Male or Female.
  • Single term searches are not allowed unless the single term is surname. For example, searches only containing q.givenName will be rejected.
  • For additional details regarding the Search endpoint, please refer to the Tree Person Search resource documentation.
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